Vodafone Americas Foundation and mHealth Alliance Announce Winners of Wireless Innovation Competitions

Posted by on Apr 28, 2010 in AshokaTECH, Blog | No Comments

This post was originally published on the AshokaTECH blog.

Big congratulations to AshokaTECH’s own Ben Lyon—regular Techonomics blogger and founder of FrontlineSMS:Credit!  Vodafone America recently announced its competition results in the following press release:

$650,000 awarded to three groundbreaking wireless projects selected for their potential to save lives and solve critical global challenges

REDWOOD CITY, CA (April 19, 2010) – At the Global Philanthropy Forum Conference today, The Vodafone Americas Foundation and [the United Nations Foundation’s] mHealth Alliance announced the winners of the second annual Wireless Innovation Project™ and the first mHealth Alliance Award for innovation in mobile health (mHealth). The winning projects, which together will be awarded $650,000 in cash and prizes, were selected for their ability to leverage wireless technology to help meet challenges faced in developing countries, including access to clean air, medical care, and financial services for the rural poor. The award will help bring each project to the next stages of implementation and scale.

“As someone from the wireless industry, I’m proud to be associated with these winners,” said Terry Kramer, president of The Vodafone Americas Foundation. “We’ve selected three outstanding innovations that cover a wide spectrum of issues, and have the ability to help millions of people.”

This year’s winners include:

1st Place ($300,000 winner) –
100 Million Stoves
Approximately 700 million households, including the poorest half of the world population rely on fire and simple stoves for cooking. Smoke and exposure from these stoves are responsible for causing premature deaths for 1.5 million women and children as well as contributing to climate change. With the potential to improve health, air quality, reduce greenhouse gases and save lives, 100 Million Stoves is a simple wireless stove use monitoring system (SUMS) that can be attached to the millions of new low-emission stoves being used in developing regions. Being developed at the University of California at Berkeley for initial application in India, this groundbreaking wireless technology will help assess the impact of household energy programs, enable feedback from users, and provide transparent verification of carbon credits.

2nd Place ($200,000 winner) –
An open source software, FrontlineSMS:Credit has the potential to open up financial services and micro-financing to millions of people in the developing world.  The application leverages mobile payment systems and core banking software to bring financial services – such as savings, credit, insurance and payroll – to the entrepreneurial poor, eliminating geographic and time barriers and turning mobile payment systems into platforms for mobile banking.

3rd Place ($100,000 winner) & winner of the mHealth Alliance Award ($50,000) –
Sana (previously MocaMobile)
Sana is a multidisciplinary group based out of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with a mission to revolutionize healthcare delivery in rural and underserved areas.  Sana has developed an innovative open source platform that allows mobile phones to capture and send data for an electronic medical record and links community health workers with physicians for real-time decision support.

In addition to the Wireless Innovation Project™ third prize, Sana also will receive the mHealth Alliance Award – with benefits totaling $50,000, including participation in Santa Clara University’s Center for Science, Technology, and Society’s Global Social Benefit Incubator Program (GSBI™), a highly competitive program that connects innovators with a Silicon Valley support network and provides instruction on how to achieve maximum sustainability and impact in social enterprises.

“Innovations like Sana demonstrate the power of mobile health, or mHealth, to close the health information divide,” said David Aylward, executive director of the mHealth Alliance. “We selected Sana for the mHealth Alliance Award because of its proven potential to connect remote health workers with medical professionals, supporting the delivery of quality care to the furthest reaches of wireless communications.”

Wireless Innovation Project winners and the mHealth Alliance Award winner will receive a unique trophy – one-of-a-kind hand-made African baskets woven from telephone wire and crafted by artisans associated with Bridge for Africa, a nonprofit fair trade organization that promotes employment in rural Africa.

Award winners were selected from a pool of nearly 100 qualified applicants from universities and non-governmental organizations throughout the United States. A panel of judges from the fields of wireless engineering, international development, social entrepreneurship and business evaluated the applications for their potential to solve critical global problems in the fields of education, health, access to communication, the environment or economic development.